I whole sweet onion
5 cloves fresh garlic
3 large carrots
3 large stalks celery
½ lb. of steamed Italian sausage
½ lb pancetta
1/3 C olive oil
1 lb of dried lentils
2 ½ quarts chicken stock
3 large Bay leaves
Salt, pepper and died Italian chili pepper-all to taste
In large soup kettle over medium heat, brown chopped pancetta OR steamed sausage (cut in ½ inch slices) with onion and garlic that have been roughly chopped ( I use a mini food chopper) together.
Next put in the chopped carrots and celery that has been cut into ¼ slices with the browned mixture in the soup kettle. When meat is brown and onions, garlic and celery are soft, season with salt, pepper and small amount of pepper flakes (small amount of Beri Beri spice can be substituted) TO TASTE.
Add chicken stock. Simmer for 1 ½ hours. Add washed lentils and simmer another 1 ½ hours. Serve with crusty Italian bread and sprinkle with grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese.
*Vegetarian Option: Substitute chicken stock with vegetable broth or water. Omit sausage or pancetta. You may want to garnish with a bit of extra cheese and adjust seasonings.